Floyd Kvamme, a Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner, serves as co-chair of the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) while also working for the Silicon Valley venture capital firm. His history includes a stint heading sales and marketing at Apple Computer. He was also one of a team that joined National Semiconductor in 1967 and built it into a billion-dollar company. He spoke with Washington Bureau Chief Doug Brown.
You were nominated to your post in March. How have you been keeping yourself busy?
What we decided at that time was that until the other co-chair [of PCAST] was signed up, because of the way the regulations work, there wasnt a whole lot we could do actively. So Ive been more on the listening end. But now that [John] Marburger is chosen, and hopefully hell be confirmed, were sorting out what activities we will be involved in.
Ive been gaining input from every cabinet position. Ive sat down with them and talked about their hot buttons on technology, besides the things that were natural extensions from the campaign, such as the importance of a strong economy for the technology industry.
Have there been any issues that youve been particularly involved with?
Many of us are from California, and the whole energy thing has been big, with meetings, from the secretary of energy to the vice president to [Secretary] Don Evans at [the Department of] Commerce.
One of the first I got involved with was talking with industry and the high-tech field about what they were doing to increase energy efficiency or introducing new products [to address energy efficiency], and then informing the president.
How do you envision your role?
[President George W. Bush] defined me as a place for people — if they didnt know where to go, start here. The reception has been terrific. Every meeting weve asked for, they have been able to arrange. I havent seen any problem. . . . They ask for my input as well. So its very open, and the president is very open.
Does the president care about technology?
The government must make sure there is an environment that allows for entrepreneurs and the kind of economic growth there should be. When you think about the fact that 45 percent of the growth in the last 10 years has been technology-based, that hasnt escaped him.